If you have a website, then most likely you are trying, in some way to get your visitors to do something. With professional service firms, typically, that action is to contact the firm, or fork over contact information (lead-gen). To be effective, all websites need to have a conversion strategy in place. Otherwise they have a good chance of simply taking up space on a server and draining your account of money.
A website should make you money, and conversions is how that money is made.
Here are 10 elements of a high converting website.
Calls to action
Number one on the list is the absolute most important element: Calls to action. Without calls to action the user will have little opportunity to know what you would like them to do. People need and want to know what to do next. By nature, most people aren’t too aggressive, even the ones who seem to be so. They also don’t want to think to hard and have to dig to find out what you would like them to do. Have a clear call to action saying exactly what it is that you would like them to do. Just take out the guesswork and you will be on your way to higher conversions.
Your headlines need to be succinct and compelling. The homepage headline should sum up what the site is about and why it would benefit the user. Always think “what’s in it for them (the user)” when writing headlines.
We would all like to think that everyone cares deeply about our firm’s standards, procedures and awards, but the don’t. All they really care about is their problem and how you are going to solve it. It’s a hard truth but if you embrace it, you will have a lot more success creating effective headlines (and entire websites).
Clear, on-message design
This one is a biggie. Too many times firms settle for sub-par design that is off-message, cluttered and/or has no strategy behind it. While Tommy down the street may have a copy of dreamweaver and only charge $3/hr. you’re most likely missing out on business that could be generated via a well thought out and designed website.
Clear, on-message web design means that the entire site has a defined message that is being delivered throughout the layout, color, typography and imagery. The design should help to not only build trust, but guide the eye, and increase conversions. Invest in design and it will pay you back several times over.
People do not want to think too much. It’s unfortunate, but you have to meet them where they are at. Let’s face it, people are busy, they don’t have time to hunt around your site for an hour to find what they are looking for. Make sure that your site is designed to take the guesswork out of the equation. This goes along with having clear calls to action.
Having an incentive is critical. You need to have some sort of free valuable resource to give people. Simply asking for their information is not only pushy, but a little rude. Put yourself in the user’s shoes. If someone were to ask you for your contact info, you would want something of value in exchange. That’s what I mean by incentive. Give them a no-brainer reason to become a lead.
Create a free report, video, audio seminar or any other kind of digital resource and give it away for free. You will see your conversions start to go up quickly.
Unique Value Proposition
How are you different from your competitors? What makes you unique? These are really tough marketing questions that many firms wrestle with. Answering them and then forming a value proposition is key to high conversion.
Visitors need to know why you are different from the bazillions of other firms out there, and they need to know quickly. Give them what they want. Create your unique value proposition.
Balance of information
This one is tough and has a lot to do with what industry you are in or what your market expects. Finding the balance between too much and too little information is tricky. Having too much content can lead to overwhelm. When a user is faced with too much information and choice it can be, well, too much. They can shut down and simply leave out of confusion.
Having to little information can have an adverse affect as well. It can lead to confusion on the part of the user and they can leave as quickly as they showed up.
The key is to know your audience and to keep it simple. Run some user tests and see how your balance of information works. Then, add or remove as necessary. Try to err on to little info on the homepage. You want to limit the amount of options that the user has as this can lead to inaction and frustration.
Making it easy for your visitors to navigate your site is critical. An assumption that’s often made when it comes to navigation is that the user needs to see every possible option. Giving your users to many options can have an adverse effect and actually make navigating your website harder.
Keep your navigation simple and easy to find. Use a good amount of whitespace, or frame it in so that it stands out from the rest of the layout. It’s also a good idea to stick to conventions with a navigation system. You can be creative, but don’t overdo it. Getting to creative can create confusion.
Think about how your users are going to use your site. What are they looking for and how do you perceive that they are going to get there. Create user paths on a white board, scratch paper or with 3×5 index cards. These user paths help you to visualize the user flow of your site. This exercise can help you structure your site in a way that helps your users find what they need as well as meet your goals.
Finally, a site with no personality will not convert well. Unless you’ve hired the absolute best copywriter on the planet, you’re probably going to benefit from having some personality woven into your website.
Use images of people within your organization or images of happy clients. Breathe some life into your website through color and typography to engage your users. Doing so will build trust and aid in conversions.
Conversions are the name of the game on the web. If you’re looking to increase them on your website think about these 10 points and try to integrate them. Be sure to test after you’ve implemented your changes and measure your results. Keep adjusting until you get the results you’re looking for. Happy converting!